Esukan VI of Varkana

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Esukan VI
Esukan VI of Varkana.jpg
Queen of Varkana
Reign21 February 1262 – 8 August 1294
Coronation21 February 1262
SuccessorElene X
Born(1248-07-27)27 July 1248
Died8 August 1294(1294-08-08) (aged 46)
Mother?? Margania

Esukan VI (Varkan: ესუქანი ვʹ; 27 July 1248 – 8 August 1294), called the Cataclyst (Varkan: კატაკლისტი, k’at’ak’list’i; Aetolian: Kατακλυστικός, Kataklystikós), was Queen of the Kingdom of Varkana from 21 February 1262 until her death. She was the first monarch of the House of Margania.

Esukan was crowned Queen of Varkana at thirteen years of age after the death of her father, King Giorgi. She was soon under the regency of Giorgi's Hand and friend Lady Elene Nersiani, who attempted to overthrow her and put her son-in-law and Esukan's brother Prince Irakli on the throne instead which started the Varkan Succession War. Esukan secured her throne after the Siege of Senaki which ended the civil war. She earned her nickname of "Cataclyst" by sealing and then flooding the tunnels beneath the Senaki Fortress where her enemies had taken refuge during the Siege, thus killing her own brother, and exterminating the House of Nersiani.

She spent much of her reign reforming royal administration and royal law. Through an extensive legal inquiry, Esukan VI investigated the tenure of various feudal liberties, while the law was reformed through a series of statutes regulating criminal and property law. Increasingly, however, Esukan VI's attention was drawn towards military affairs. After suppressing a minor rebellion in Kaspia in 1269–70, Esukan VI responded to a second rebellion in 1272–73 with a full-scale war. After a successful campaign, Esukan VI subjected Kaspia to Varkan rule, built a series of castles and towns in the countryside and settled them with Varkan people.

Historic sources present disparate accounts of Esukan VI's complex personality: she was described as intelligent, cold and calculating, but also prone to paranoia, rages, and episodic outbreaks of mental instability that increased with age. Currently, Esukan VI is credited with many accomplishments during her reign, including restoring royal authority after the Varkan Succession War, establishing a more functional system for raising taxes, and reforming the law through statutes. At the same time, she is also often criticized for other actions, such as her brutal conduct towards the Nersiani and the Kaspians, and issuing the Edict of Expulsion in 1286, by which the Jews were expelled from Varkana failing which they would all be enslaved. The Edict remained in effect until it was formally overturned after the establishment of the First Republic of Varkana in 1760 and the presidency of Giorgi Ramishvili.